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The 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings could be the last significant landmark for surviving WW2 veterans.

Roy Hayward is one of only a few remaining D-Day veterans still alive today.

With your support, we can continue to help D-Day veterans like Roy Hayward, and further veterans across the UK who have suffered a life changing injury.

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“We landed on the night of D-day, so it was very dark. I can only remember landing on the beach, then we moved on through the lanes and eventually stopped because we thought we might have gone too far. Beyond what then would have been called the front line.”

On the 6th of June 1944, Roy Hayward landed on the beaches of Normandy.

Days later, both of his legs had to be amputated. 

“We landed on the night of D-day, so it was very dark. I can only remember landing on the beach, then we moved on through the lanes and eventually stopped because we thought we might have gone too far. Beyond what then would have been called the front line.”

“I was called into the tanks within a few days because the casualties had been pretty heavy. It was on the 25th of June that we were asked to attack near a village called Rauray. A shell hit us and exploded inside the tank. When I crawled down the lane and turned over onto my back I realised that my right leg had been shattered below the knee and my left foot had been blown off leaving me with just a part of the heel which I think enabled me to stand.

I was so numb at the time that I wasn’t aware of pain. I was just feeling extremely upset about the fact I saw what had happened to me”

"I went to a hospital in Portsmouth. A nurse arrived and told me she was going to dress my wounds. She took the dressings off and, to my horror and her delight, I found that both stumps were crawling with maggots! She said that they had kept the wound absolutely clean, and that as far as they were concerned I was in a very good state. They took me to a shoe-shop and asked me what size feet I wanted. I think there was a pair of shoes I fancied which were and 8 and a half, so I went for them. It's not the best of sizes really!” 

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"I didn't know the importance of D-Day at the time. I just thought of my injuries as a bit of bad luck"

 “I was soon contacted by Blesma, who asked if they could do anything for me. From then on I felt a real feeling of reassurance, it was not only the reassurance that someone would be there to aid with benefits and welfare etc., but also a real sense of Camaraderie because all of us were in the situation. ”

“At 19, you don’t think so much about what your life is going to be like, you just accept the challenge,” he says. “My father was a placid character – nothing ever upset him – so I’m sure I inherited his gene of accepting things. “I didn’t dwell on losing my legs. I viewed it  as a challenge and, at the age of 94, I now look back on a very happy and full life."

"I’ve always had the feeling that Blesma was behind me and would see that I got what I was entitled to, fighting for things I might not have been able to get myself. I didn’t need too much to start with, but it was good to know the Association was in my corner. It gave me a feeling of confidence. “I appreciate the work Blesma has done to secure our better pensions and get our War Widows Pension free of tax. The Association has been instrumental in obtaining all those benefits which ensure Members can live independently for as long as possible.”

We can help

We are dedicated to assisting serving and ex-Service men and women who have suffered life-changing limbloss or the use of a limb, an eye or sight. We support these men and women in their communities throughout the UK. Click the link below to find our the different kinds of support we offer.

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